Seniors, Remember Ledger: Don't Mix Meds

Seniors in danger from drug interactions
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2008 7:15 AM CST
A new study says older Americans are at risk from the side effects of taking multiple prescription and over-the-counter drugs.   (AP Photo/Sun Herald, John Fitzhugh)
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(Newser) – Millions of older Americans take so many prescription and over-the-counter drugs that they risk serious side effects from the drugs’ interactions, USA Today reports. A new study found that about 30% of people aged 57 to 85 now take at least five prescription drugs regularly—plus non-prescription medications and supplements—putting them at risk for complications such as bleeding and muscle weakness.

One geriatrician says he tells patients to stop taking a drug if it has a bad side effect, rather than prescribing an additional drug to counter the effect. Another geriatrics specialist who asks her patients to bring in all their medications for her review says the problem of drug interactions comes up for her “every single day … with every single patient."